KC Sports Replay: Salvy passes Bench, K-State earns Top 25 ranking, Ravens beat Chiefs

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Salvador Perez became a smiling chart-topper this past week, surpassing Johnny Bench for most home runs in a single season by a major-league catcher.

For a recap of top Kansas City-area sports headlines, there are worse places to start. So let’s begin with the affable author of The Salvy Splash, who has spent his entire MLB career with the Royals.

Kansas City Royals’ Salvador Perez smiles and points to the dugout after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning in the first baseball game of a doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, in Cleveland. The home run broke Johnny Bench’s record for the most home runs in a season by a primary catcher. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Kansas City Royals’ Salvador Perez smiles and points to the dugout after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning in the first baseball game of a doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, in Cleveland. The home run broke Johnny Bench’s record for the most home runs in a season by a primary catcher. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Perez powers ahead

The perennial All-Star hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning of the first game of a doubleheader at Cleveland’s Progressive Field Monday afternoon, giving him a record 46 round-trippers.

What a remarkable year. As Perez himself pointed out, he’d never before hit 30, let alone 40, or 46.

“I don’t know if you guys read my mouth, my lips,” he said later Monday evening, “but I was thanking God for this. It was amazing.”

Bench’s record of 45 had stood since 1970, the most by any player who played at least 75% of his games as a catcher. And an interesting footnote: The person who wound up with Perez’s record-smashing ball wouldn’t give it back, displeasing many a Royals fan.

A rendering of what KC NWSL’s new $15 million training facility in Riverside, Mo., will look like upon completion next year.
A rendering of what KC NWSL’s new $15 million training facility in Riverside, Mo., will look like upon completion next year.

Wondrous week for women’s soccer

The KC NWSL women’s pro-soccer team made news all week, announcing its intent to construct a new $15 million training facility north of downtown and play all of its 2022 home games at Sporting KC’s Children’s Mercy Park.

The move from nearby Legends Field will increase seating capacity for KC NWSL games by quite a large margin. It also means KC NWSL will be competing at a state-of-the-art, soccer-specific venue in just its second season of existence.

KC NWSL news will continue to churn this offseason, too, as club officials have said they’ll unveil the team’s new and permanent nickname before the 2022 season begins.

Kansas State running back Joe Ervin (20) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Nevada Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas State running back Joe Ervin (20) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Nevada Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Those ranked Wildcats

On the strength of a 38-17 victory over the Nevada Wolf Pack and 3-0 start to the season, Kansas State cracked the AP Top 25 college football poll for the first time this fall.

The Wildcats, ranked No. 25, won all three of their non-conference games.

As KC Star and Wichita Eagle beat writer Kellis Robinett wrote: “It’s been a fast climb for K-State this season.” Indeed: The Cats didn’t receive a single vote in the preseason poll, but victories over Stanford (24-7 in Dallas), Southern Illinois (31-23) and then Nevada opened some eyes.

St. Thomas Aquinas running back Tank Young tried to work his way down field against Bishop Miege on Friday night.
St. Thomas Aquinas running back Tank Young tried to work his way down field against Bishop Miege on Friday night.

Movin’ on up (and down)

The Kansas High School Activities Association unveiled seismic changes in its football classifications on Friday.

The biggest? Two current Class 5A powerhouses are on the move in 2022-23, with St. Thomas Aquinas dropping down to 4A and Wichita Northwest football moving up to 6A.

That means Class 4A East will include three private schools: Aquinas, Bishop Miege and St. James Academy. Aquinas has made it to at least the 5A state semifinals in every season since 2014, playing for state titles three times and winning it all in 2018 by beating Wichita Northwest.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes walks off the field after Sunday night’s road loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes walks off the field after Sunday night’s road loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

The Chiefs ... didn’t win

Call us homers for leading with the Chiefs when they win and putting them last when they lose, but that loss, by a 36-35 score thanks to untimely turnovers and generally porous run defense, was brutal enough to want to forget about it.

All but one in-studio “expert” picked the Chiefs to win on CBS’ pre-game show. Maybe that helped fire up Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, who cartwheel-flipped into the end zone after one TD and stole the spotlight from Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes.

Let’s put it this way: How often will Mahomes, the Chiefs’ former league and Super Bowl MVP, throw for 343 yards and three touchdowns (plus one admittedly bad interception) and still lose? Not often.

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